Original poem by
C. Fox Smith

Printable version

MP3 Sample

A Parting

Poem by Cicely Fox Smith © 1926
From FULL SAIL, by Cicely Fox Smith,
published by Houghton Mifflin Co., NY, 1926, pp. 114-116.

Adapted for singing by Gordon Morris
Additional wording changes by Judy Barrows 2006
Tune: after Rolling Down to Old Maui

Back to the List of Songs

Back to the
Charlie Ipcar Home Page

photo of anzac bay, circa 1915 I came me ashore off an old Cardiff tramp –worst ship I ever did see:
She was all o' the things you could name in a ship, a ship as got no rights to be:
She was gritty an' grimy an' smelly an' slimy, same aloft as below,
But it's always so hard when you leave your old ship, an' it's time for a man to go.

When it's time for a man to go, me boys, time for a man to go –
It's always so hard when you leave your old ship, an' it's time for a man to go.

There was nothin' to pleasure an old seaman's eye for she was as ugly as sin:
From the slab of her stern to the lump of her bow, her plates they were rusty and thin;
She rolled like a pig an' she steered like a dray, she crawled like an old bloomin' hearse,
The things that she'd done in the seaway, good Lord, they'd make a parson curse.

They'd make a parson curse, me boys, they'd make a parson curse –
The things that she'd done in the seaway, good Lord, they'd make a parson curse.

There well I stood like an old bloomin' fool on the quay in the wind an' the weather
And I looked at 'er, and I thought o' the things the two of us had been through together:
The work an' the fun, it was over an' done, the pals, the sprees on the shore,
The times as we had, both good an' both bad never come round no more.

They'll never come round no more, me boys, never come round no more –
The times as we had, both good an' both bad, they'll never come round no more.

I spat on the dock, an' I turned for to go, with a kind of a mist in me eye,
An' a fool of an ache in this fool of a heart as I said, "Ol' gal, good-bye!"
Let 'em be good ones or let 'em be bad ones, let 'em be fast ones or slow,
It's always so hard when you leave your old ship, an' it's time for a man to go.

When it's time for a man to go, me boys, time for a man to go –
It's always so hard when you leave your old ship, an' it's time for a man to go.

Back to the top


A Parting

By Cicely Fox Smith 1926
From FULL SAIL: More Sea Songs and Ballads, edited by Cicely Fox Smith,
published by Houghton Mifflin Co., NY, © 1926, pp. 114-116.

"I come ashore off a Cardiff tramp – the worst as ever I see:
She was all the things you could name," said Bill, "as a ship's no right to be:
She was gritty an' grimy an' smelly an' slimy, the same aloft as alow,
But it's allus 'ard at the last," said he, "when it's time for a man to go."

"There was nothin' to pleasure a seaman's eye in the blessed whole shamozzle:
She was ugly as sin from her slab of a stern to her blunt old lump of a nozzle:
She rolled like a pig an' steered like a dray, she crawled like a bloomin' 'earse,
An' the things she done in a seaway, Lord, they'd make a parson curse."

"But there I stood like a bloomin' fool on the quay in the drippin' weather
An' looked at 'er, an' thought o' the things us two 'ad seen together,
The work an' fun as was over an' done, the pals, the sprees ashore,
An' the times we'd 'ad both good an' bad as'd never come round no more."

"An' I spat in the dock, an' I turned to go with a kind of a mist in my eye,
An' a fool of an ache in my fool of an 'eart as I said, 'Ol' girl, good-bye!'
For let 'em be good uns or let 'em be bad, an' let 'em be fast or slow,
It's allus the same with a ship," said Bill, "when it's time for a man to go."

 

"Allus" is dialect for "always."

Back to the top


Notes:

From Songs and Chanties: 1914-1916, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Elkin Mathews, London, UK, © 1919, pp. 95-97.

"Rathlin Light" is located on Rathlin Island, North Channel, Northern Ireland, while "Kintyre" is a peninsula in western Scotland. Rathlin Island is an L-shaped island with the "L" opening to the southwest. The Island therefore has headlands at the southeast point, the northwest point, and where the two legs of the "L" meet to the northeast; there is a lighthouse at each location. A lighthouse is mentioned in the song three times as the ship travels from the Irish Sea through the North Channel and then out into the North Atlantic, each a different lighthouse.

Back to the top